Vistara and AirAsia add gender-neutral ticket booking option

In a positive step of reconsigning the trans community, Air Vistara and AirAsia airlines have made their ticket booking gender-neutral by adding a third option.

This decision is believed to be the outcome of an online petition started in 2020, by Inderjeet Ghorpade, a member of the LGBTQIA+ group ‘YesWeExist’.

While booking an airline ticket for his friend who is a trans, non-binary person, he realised that none of the airline companies in India offered any “gender-neutral titles”.

In a positive step of reconsigning the trans community, Vistara and AirAsia have made their ticket booking gender-neutral by adding a third option.

“Many members of the LGBTQI community prefer using the ‘MX’ title. But, I was shocked to see that the ‘MX’ option was not available while booking air tickets in India. To make air ticket booking gender-neutral, I started a petition on Change.org called Change.org/StopPinkWashing,” Mr. Ghorpade said.

He then started speaking about the issue on social media and garnered support for his cause. He also wrote emails to airlines to alert them on the issue and sensitize them about the community’s demands. Over 33,000 people signed his petition and supported the cause.

The online petition mentions, “The Transgender (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 mentions that transgender persons should not be denied or unfairly treated about the right to movement and access to services. All airlines in India violate this Act. Four years ago, Indian Railways updated their booking form and added transgender as an available gender option. 

Alaska Airlines changed its policies to allow more freedom and flexibility to its staff in individual and gender expression by relaxing rules for makeup, hairstyle, and footwear regardless of gender identity.

While this is certainly a good start, Ghorpode believes that the fight for inclusivity has much more to achieve.

He explains, “Indian airports continue to view gender as binary even though the Indian law does not. There are no gender-neutral washrooms at Indian airports and the security check procedures too, segregate passengers as Male and Female.”

Indrajeet is hopeful that soon Air India will also make the change, now that the Tatas own both Air India and Air Vistara.

There are no gender-neutral washrooms at Indian airports and the security check procedures too, segregate passengers as Male and Female

“Once these three big airlines have made the change in their booking platform, then hopefully airline authorities will work towards making airports more queer-friendly. At least that will be my next action plan.”

Globally, the aviation industry is increasingly starting to identify the gaps in its approach to inclusivity for people of all genders and sexualities and making changes in several age-old practices.

In March, the US’s Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced new standards for screening transgender, non-binary, and gender-nonconforming airline passengers at checkpoints to improve the screening experience for all.

Many airlines such as Lufthansa, Japan Airlines, and British Airways have also switched to gender-neutral greetings.

In March, Alaska Airlines changed its policies to allow more freedom and flexibility to its staff in individual and gender expression by relaxing rules for makeup, hairstyle, and footwear regardless of gender identity.

Many airlines such as Lufthansa, Japan Airlines, and British Airways have also switched to gender-neutral greetings.

For instance, instead of calling passengers’ ladies and gentlemen,’ they now refer to them as ‘guests’ or greet them with phrases such as, “Good morning everyone,” “Good morning here onboard,” or “Attention all passengers.”

Related Articles

Responses

Jobs
Forum
Feed
News
Magazine